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October 12, 2012     Post-Gazette
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POST-GAZETTE, OCTOBER 12, 2012 Page 13 Nanna 00abb00onno by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance H ill H, as were the stores where he bought his stogies and the Italian newspapers {includ- ing this one). When Dad told them he would continue to pay for the Eutaw Street apartment in East Boston for them to stay there, they were pleased. When he added that he and I were going to Belmont, panic set in. Mom realized that her place was with her husband and she convinced Babbononno that they were moving. That spring, on Good Friday, we moved to Belmont. Babbononno lasted a year in the new house. He loved the house, but hated the neighborhood. There were no stores where he could buy his cigars, no plaees that sold Oggi, II Progresso, the Post- Gazette or anything else that was Italian. He was so un- happy, my uncles and father found him an apartment near Maverick Square, where he stayed until he couldn't take care of himself any longer. My mother received the shock of her life when she called him one afternoon. A female voice answered and that voice was accompanied by a thick Irish brogue. Her name was Rose and she was Babbononno's next door neighbor. It seems that in the short time my grandfather had been living near Maver- ick Square, he and Rose had become fast friends. I don't know how they commu- nicated, but maybe I'm be- ing naive. Rose had a brogue thick enough to cut with a knife and Babbononno spoke fractured English, but they became an item. The friend- ship lasted until Rose passed away and Babbononno needed more care that anyone in the family could give him. The family found an opening at the long-gone Columbus Nursing Home, then located on Saratoga Street heading toward Orient Heights. He was happy there. The stores in Orient Heights Square were within walking distance and he could take a morning stroll and buy his DeNobili cigars and the newspapers he loved to read from the front page to the last page. Sal Meli, an East Bostonian whom I had grown up with, and I had a piece of an apart- ment in Winthrop. I had to give it up seeing I was head- ing back to college. My father had put the down payment on the Belmont house and I gave him the mortgage money i iiii i Last week I was talking about career changes during my younger days on Earth. I had returned from Holly- wood, gone back to playing music and teaching in Boston and had a few sad moments occur. By this point in time, Babbononno was in a nursing home in East Boston. Backtracking, after Nanna passed away he moved in with us at 74 Eutaw Street. What had been my music room now became Babbononno's bedroom. I was still in college at the time, living at home and it was a bit crowded. The year after graduation, we moved to Belmont. The problem was parking at night. Dad was a musician. Back in the day, he had one of the few cars that was parked on Eutaw Street. By the early '60s, every family in the three-deckers that lined the blocks of Eutaw had a car or two. Finding a parking space at one or two in the morning became almost impossible. To add insult to injury, Bos- ton began alternate side parking in selected neighbor- hoods. I turned professional in my 3 rd year of college and when I began playing I had the same problem parking that plagued my father. One snowy winter's night, Dad drove home from a wedding he had played and couldn't find a parking space any- where. He brought his bass violin into the house and headed out, eventually find- ing a parking space a few blocks away. When he got back to the house, he was covered with snow, his feet were wet and he was cold and very upset. He then did some- thing I had never seen him do. He poured himself a drink. From that point on he thought of nothing but moving out of the city. Uncle Gino and Aunt Ninna had been living in Belmont for several years. My mother's youngest brother and his wife loved their location and hav- ing spent many a holiday with them, we were familiar with the Belmont neighborhoods and kind of liked them. That spring, Dad put the down payment on a house in the Winbrook section of Belmont and we moved out of East Boston. At first, Mom didn't want to go, mainly because Babbo- nonno didn't want to be that far away from Eastie or the North End. All of his friends were in those neighborhoods, Happy Columbus Day -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 i,ll each month. With paying for college again, something had to go and that was some of my independence. I was playing enough music locally to pay for my intended degree out of pocket and when I added in my teacher's salary, I had enough left over for vacations, a decent car and clothes. The only major problem was, as I indicated last week, busing. Court approved bus- ing came into Boston with unexpected protesting and subsequent rioting in some neighborhoods. South Boston High School became inte- grated with kids being bused in mainly from Roxbury and Dorchester. Boston had al- ways been an ethnocentric city, but there were never any serious racial problems. With busing came the prob- lems. As I said, South Boston got all of the media publicity but the school with whites boycotting only ran with about 200 to 300 kids per day. I was at Hyde Park High School and we had the same new busing except that we had between 1000 to 1200 kids a day. When the rioting started it was bad. I blamed the parents, the press and the politicians, not the kids. At B.U., I was now a doctoral candidate in the department of Humanistic, Behavioral and Organizational Studies, and on days when we had a riot situation and I had after- noon classes afterward, I was asked to address several of the combined B.U. classes to see if we could come up with solutions. I became some- thing of a minor celebrity. Several times, when the press arrived at the school during or after a riot, I was a bit messed up. When the prob- lems started, many of the teachers actually ran into closets to hide. I grew up on the streets of East Boston and the North End and, to me, hid- ing wasn't an option. I was in the thick of things, always trying to break things up. On several occasions, one of the assistant principals and I were back-to-back trying to protect some of the :kids not involved in violence. I wasn't a target, but being caught in the middle can cause one to experience friendly fire. I remember telling Dean about this one night when we were on a double date. He ad- vised me to do some writing and document the problems and outcomes. I followed his advice, but the problems con- tinued without any solutions. Two court-appointed expe.rts were acquaintances from B.U., but neither was a Bostonian and for two hun- dred dollars a day each they couldn't come up with an answer. On a given day, I was sitting in a behavioral prob- lems class at B.U. favoring a couple of injuries I received earlier that day, saying to myself, "I left Hollywood for this?" TO BE CONTINUED ... GOD BLESS AMERICA Thinking Out Loud (Continued from Page 4) would rather just sit back and drink Kool-Aid along with lots of other Americans whose only real obsession is with getting more free stuff from the government. Rom- ney's 47 percent remark was stupid to say in the way he said it but when you have so many Americans getting checks from the government rather than paying taxes, you have a disaster brewing. You can only hold off dooms- day so long. It appears that this year's GOP nominee once again represents the establish- ment, which has been out of the picture for several elections now. Republicans learned little from 2008 when they doomed them- selves with John McCain, just as they were doomed with Bob Dole back in 1996. Romney brings to a finale the "Dead Men Walking" trilogy. Perhaps we will all have to suffer through four more years of torture with the Obama-ites in charge. I can only hope that the Republi- cans can hold on to the House and get closer in the Senate. Put the Democrats in charge of everything and that 47 percent, which is ac- tually 49 percent according to the U.S. Census Bureau, will actually cross over the tipping point to where tax- payers become minorities in their own government. As far as our U.S. Senate race, I am for Scott Brown. We need at least one Repub- lican up on Capitol Hill rep- resenting us. Go back to an all-Democrat delegation on Capitol Hill and the voices of reason will be silenced. I ask the question again: Why do so many Bay State voters keep drinking the political Kool-Aid handed out by liberal Democrats? Is it just because it's free? We seem to have lost our way from Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill and Valley Forge. As Thomas Jefferson said, "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the govern- ment fears the people, there is liberty." Choose liberty because in America the people should rule, not the other way around. HAppy OOt00SU00 OAy HANOVER WINE & SPIRITS WINES * LIQUORS * TOBACCO * LOTTERY 363 Hanover Street, North End, Boston 617.723.3663 Joey Giangregorio BOSTON RESIDENTS Leaf & Yard Waste 7-Week Collection Boston Public Works will collect and compost residents' yard waste Seven weeks: October 15 - November 30 ON YOUR RECYCLING DAY. Place leaves in large paper leaf bags or open barrels marked "yard waste." For free"yard waste" stickers, call 617-635-4500 (up to 2 stickers available per household). Cut branches to 3' maximum length and 1" maximum diameter. Tie branches with string. Place leaves and yard waste at the curb by 7am ON YOUR RECYC LING DAY. Yard waste will not be collected during the two weeks before the Oct. 15 start date. Please hold onto your yard waste ;r from Oct. 1 to t Oct. 15, when collection begins.